Throughout 2001, headlines have announced job cuts in a number of major corporations: AOL Time Warner, Lucent Technologies, Verizon, DaimlerChrysler and Sara Lee, to name a few. Although the economic downturn has not yet been on the order of magnitude of the early 1980s, indicators point to a substantial slowdown in a variety of sectors. The growth spurt of the late 1990s has clearly wound down.During that boom, an important trend had appeared: Companies had begun to manage knowledge as a strategic capability. Time and resources went into enhancing the ability to create, share and use both individual and collective know-how so that businesses could improve productivity, organizational effectiveness and innovative capacity.Many public- and private-sector organizations undertook a wide range of knowledge-management initiatives, including identifying and sharing relevant practices, locating and highlighting expertise, fostering communities of practice and installing collaborative technologies.The Risks to Knowledge AssetsThe era of rapid growth and change was conducive to experimenting with and implementing new techniques for managing knowledge. Expanding budgets for new personnel and systems, coupled with a need to disseminate knowledge quickly to an ever growing and increasingly diverse work force, provided steady nourishment for knowledge-management efforts.